Sex is so fun, but it has inherent risks that can be mitigated through education and access to health care and child planning services. So how has the United States dealt with this issue? By closing clinics and funding abstinence only programs in schools. Ironically, these measures have lead to a huge spike in unsafe sex practices. Who knew.
In a new report from the Lancet commission, unsafe sex is one of the biggest dangers facing young women globally. The report studies the risks to people’s health and causes of death in young people from age 10-24, and it spans from 1990 to 2013.
In 1990, unsafe sex was the 11th leading risk factor for death in women aged 15 to 19. By 2013 it had jumped ten spots to number 1. It came For women aged 20 to 24 it was at 7th in 1990 and also made the top of the list by 2013. 1990 was also the year that Salt-n-Pepa's sex education hit "Let's Talk About Sex" came out, as the AIDS crisis was becoming a national conversation. Though a bit dated in terms of costuming, the song is even more necessary today:
The Lancet commission writes in their report that young people are facing unprecedented global change, but they are primed for engagement on their health and well-being if programs are in place. The introduction reads, “Further barriers arise from restrictive legislative frameworks, out-of-pocket costs, stigma, and community attitudes. Health-care providers need attitudes, knowledge, and skills that foster engagement with adolescents while maintaining a level of engagement with families.”
Though the statistics group global numbers, the warning within teaches a lesson that we can bring to our local communities. Instead of stigmatizing sex, we can treat it as a normal behavior to be conducted with care and self-respect. Have as much sex as you want, but do it responsibly. Make contraceptives more widely available, and for goodness sake, stop trying to shut down Planned Parenthood.